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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

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Comment: Re:Yes, I agree, but no shortage of stupid GUI (Score 4, Insightful) 553

by gewalker (#49171865) Attached to: Why We Should Stop Hiding File-Name Extensions

No shortage of stupid user interface choices. Some of the ones I've hated the most.

* Hiding menu options, aka personalized menus
* Wholesale rearranging and renaming of user interfaces between versions, esp. for infrequently used options
* Super secret hidden files.
* Windows 8

Comment: Re:Bring on the lausuits (Score 1) 599

by gewalker (#49127205) Attached to: Republicans Back Down, FCC To Enforce Net Neutrality Rules

Nonsense, congress could pass changes that emasculate the FCC in this regard. Certainly the current POTUS would doubtless veto, but the next one might not.

Likelihood of such a restriction on the FCC is another question, and I would guess fairly improbable. Should this regulation become very unpopular, then it would be likely to be overturned by congress.

Comment: Re:Chemical weapons are much older than 100 years (Score 1) 224

by gewalker (#49115319) Attached to: 100 Years of Chemical Weapons

Greek fire is often thought to include calcium oxide a.k.a. quicklime. This is caustic and has been used as chemical weapon by itself. That is why I originally said it was arguably a chemical weapon though the primary effectiveness is clearly as an incendiary. Primarily I included as a reference because it is more more widely recognized as being used in warfare. The pure chemical weapons go back a long time -- far predating greek fire.

Comment: Chemical weapons are much older than 100 years (Score 3, Informative) 224

by gewalker (#49113475) Attached to: 100 Years of Chemical Weapons

Greek fire is arguably a chemical weapon and well known.

National Geographic has a nice article about the long history of chemical (and biological) weapons,

The real difference in the modern era, it has become an economical form of warfare as well as more effective (higher rate of casualties) than older chemical attacks.

Comment: Re:Why just fossils? Maybe organics too. (Score 1) 88

by gewalker (#49088083) Attached to: Could Fossils of Ancient Life From Earth Reside On the Moon?

I don't know, if you have a comet or asteroid impact big enough to eject material into space you have to consider that the ejecta is going to be heated by a large amount. Much of the "ejecta" is in the form of vaporized rock, much of the solid ejecta will be fractured. The fireball associated with an impact of this size is also going to be large (10's or 100's of km in diameter), so you get additional heating beyond the heating of atmospheric compression while the ejecta is departing.

Seems like organics would be unlikely to survive the trip most of the time.

The slower eject will not be generally be heated as much, but you won't find those on the moon.

Comment: Re:This would be a great Slashdot poll (Score 1) 286

by gewalker (#49076239) Attached to: 1950s Toy That Included Actual Uranium Ore Goes On Display At Museum

Buckyballs were targeted by the government -- Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), so people tend to assume they were unusually risky. According to the CPSC, 22 kids have been injured, no fatalities.

Bicycles, skateboards, and trampolines -- all much higher risk. Yet, no-one is proposing banning them, because we are used to the risks.

A few grams of radioactives, as providing with the toy, essentially no risk of significant unless you consume them.or use them as an eye patch.

Comment: Re:Overstatement (Score 5, Informative) 286

by gewalker (#49075995) Attached to: 1950s Toy That Included Actual Uranium Ore Goes On Display At Museum

Lawn darts -- lots of fun, only a few deaths, but lots of non-fatal injuries.

Mini Hammocks had 12 fatalities and quite a few non-fatal.

Austin Magic Pistol -- shoot a flame up to 70 feet (calcium carbide and water).

But the true winner has to be the trampoline. Deaths sure, but the thousands of serious injuries per year (visits to the E/R) is without parallel

Comment: Actually, the study and conclusion is flawed (Score 1) 328

by gewalker (#49073265) Attached to: Federal Study: Marijuana Use Doesn't Increase Auto Crash Rates

This study does not study what you probably assumed that it study.

The study you expect is. How is the likelihood of a crash altered by using MJ. This study actually studies those involved in crashes and looks at THC, alcohol and other drugs. How many people taking MJ simply avoid driving completely? If 1 out of 2 avoid driving in this condition, this study under reports the accident risk by a factor of 2.

It does refer to several studies that measure impairment based on MJ usage and comments that the impairment in clearly seen in a number of ways.

Also, some THC is not the best measure of the effect of THC. Maybe moderate use has a relaxing effect that actually improves driving by reducing risk taking behavior even if it simultaneous impairs reaction time and judgment while more THC allows the negative effects to outweigh the positive.You would never know in this study.

Given that MJ usage is so widespread, an honest and comprehensive study would be a lot more useful than studies like this one. since MJ is legal now in some places, why not have a real study with various ages, levels of THC, etc. and spend some time in driving simulators. By and large I know people will take recreational drugs and it does not affect me. But I would like to keep them off the roads if this means they are driving while impaired.

Comment: Re:3/5 clause (Score 1) 239

by gewalker (#49023501) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Will It Take To End Mass Surveillance?

There is another historically successful method of abolishing slavery. The government compensates slaves owners for their slaves at the same time it abolishes slavery. That is how they did it in Britain, Washington D.C. and basically the rest of the world. Had this been done at the time of the civil war, it would have cost considerably less than the cost of the war.

When writing the US Constitution, there was another option -- abolish it in the future. People are much more likely to agree to something they consider undesirable as long as it is delayed for the next generation.

By 1860, the mindset of the South was such that neither of the previous solutions would work as it was also strong cultural racism and privilege, not just slavery that was involved.

Breadth-first search is the bulldozer of science. -- Randy Goebel

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